If you are going to reach out to friends to organize an effort to win a district in NM or to weigh in on either a swing state race or a key Senate race, using Zoom is the way to go. It is FREE; it is easy to use; and it is a great way to also just connect with friends and family. AND, if you don’t have an account, below Retake walks you through how to set up an account with screen shots showing you exactly what to do. It may seem like there are a ton of steps, but trust, me setting up a free account takes about 3-4 minutes. First we will show you how to set up your account and then we will show you how to schedule a meeting. Let’s get started.
First the One Rule That Matters: With a free account, your Zoom meetings are limited to 40 minutes, but without a Zoom account, you have no meetings ;-). For $15 a month, you can get a paid account that allows you to hold meetings of unlimited length.
Steps to Setting Up a Zoom Account
Type “Google” in your browser and click on the link to their home page. When you land there, the screen will look like this.
Click on the organge “Sign Up For Free” button and you will land at this page. Simply give them your email address and click “Sign Up.”
Now you set up a password for your account. While it is a good idea to save the password somewhere, if when you next sign on you say “remember me,” your computer will be remembered and you won’t need the password. Worst case, if you forget the password, you can always reset it. So set up a password and Hit “Continue.”
You will land on a page that asks you to schedule a practice meeting. Go through the practice if you want or click “go to your account”
When you land on your account home page it will look like this. To Schedule a meeting, click the “meetings” box on the left right below “Profile.”
You will land at the page below. Click “Schedule a Meeting.”
Now you go through the steps to set up the meeting. Once you’ve done this once or twice, it will become routine. Start by giving the meeting a name in the box that says “My Meeting” and if you want give it a short description and click “Schedule a New Meeting.”
You will land on a page where you schedule your meeting and create a link to that meeting. Select the time you identified using Doodle, if you used it. And if you are using a free account, it will limit you to 40 minutes. If you don’t want to get the annoying notice offering you to pay for an account, click the button “don’t show me this again.” Be sure to select the time zone MT and Zoom will remember that time zone after the first time you do it.
Notice that Zoom generates a passcode. Free accounts must use this function. With a paid account, you can uncheck that box, so I’ve never actually had to generate a passcode. I tested it though with a fake free account I set up and the password is automatically generated, so you won’t need to share it with participants.
I think it is a good idea to click Video “on” for both the host (you) and participants. When you are done, click save and you will land on a page that will have your Zoom link.
All that is left to do, is to hover over the Invite Link and copy it Control C. I don’t like to use the “copy link” function on the right as it generates what I find to be a VERY confusing link with way too much information. It is easier to use the link by just copying it.
Now you just use email, write to your pals who will be on the Zoom and copy in the link into their email. When you want to start the meeting, just type in Zoom in your browser and likely it will remember you and you will see a url like “Zoom.us/meeting” and then when you get to your page, click on “My Meetings” and you will see the meeting there. Just click “start my meeting” and then “Open in Zoom” will appear, click it and you are in.
Wait for your friends and then realize you have 40 minutes for your meeting, unless you have a paid account. If you have 1-2 folks who couldn’t make the meeting, you do have the option to record the meeting. Zoom creates a folder on your laptop where it places the recording. Likely you will not need to do that.